Breaking Down Biggest Transfer Needs and Potential Targets of Liverpool

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2013

MANSFIELD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal during the FA Cup with Budweiser Third Round match between Mansfield Town and Liverpool at One Call Stadium on January 6, 2013 in Mansfield, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Is Liverpool already finished making moves in the transfer window?

After bringing over Daniel Sturridge to provide some much-needed depth behind Luis Suarez at striker, Liverpool has been linked to several names, but the general feeling is that the team will be fairly quiet in January.

That may have something to do with comments made by manager Brendan Rodgers before the transfer window even opened (via John Edwards of the Daily Mail):

We have enquired about some players and hope to be able to do something in January. There are a lot of names being mentioned, but we should be able to make some additions and make them pretty early.

But the main review will take place in the summer, and it is clear we need that bit of experience up at the top end of the field. The best and most important period will be between now and the end of the season, when we can look at what needs to be done, in terms of progressing the club further, and then go again.

Still, it's hard to believe Liverpool is completely finished tinkering.

One player widely believed to be heading to Anfield was Tom Ince of Blackpool, a promising English midfielder. But the clubs seem to be at an impasse in negotiations, with Joe Bernstein of the Daily Mail reporting that Blackpool was willing to sell for £6 million, while Liverpool will only go up to £4 million.

Uh, what about just doing it for £5 million? Or does that make too much sense?

While Ince would be an excellent young talent to ensure for the future, the midfield probably isn't the biggest need for Liverpool (even if the team was temporarily linked to Wesley Sneijder, surely causing Reds fans random bursts of excitement).

Interestingly, the team has also been linked to defenders Davide Astori (whom Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reports is more likely to head to Southampton) and Samuel Inkoom.

Finally, Liverpool is one of a handful of Premier League teams that have been rumored to be knocking on the door of the future first-choice keeper for England's national team, Jack Butland of Birmingham.

According to Ian Ladyman and Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, Liverpool have eyes for both Butland and German youngster Ron-Robert Zieler.

Some of these moves will surely come as a surprise to Liverpool fans, who would like to see the team upgrade at winger or bring in a creative, attacking force in the midfield to slowly phase out Steven Gerrard. 

Still, with Lucas being back to handle more duties as the deep-lying midfielder, perhaps Gerrard can return to his goal-scoring ways of old. That's certainly both his belief and hope, as he told David Anderson of the Mirror:

“I’ve played well in some games but I’ve been disappointed with myself in others and I’m not happy with my goal tally. With the slow start we made and being where we have been in the league, it’s been mixed for me. I’ve maybe gone into protection mode rather than playing the old Steven Gerrard way with the shackles off and going for the jugular.”

Gerrard, who has scored three goals in his last four games, added: “When you’re one of the experienced players, the team’s more important than yourself and maybe I’ve sacrificed myself by playing deeper.

“Now that Lucas is back, it gives me the licence to get forward a lot more so hopefully I can add some more goals."

One has to wonder if Gerrard is telling both the fans and the club, "Have some patience with me; the old version of your captain is about to emerge." But is that the right strategy for Liverpool?

Probably. Rodgers is going to have to make major adjustments over the summer, but why go crazy in January when it's highly unlikely your team will finish in the top four this season anyway?

No, I think Liverpool should stick to making smaller and more subtle moves, letting the current players gain chemistry working together in Rodgers' system, and fill in the major needs over the summer once we've seen a full year of the Rodgers experiment. 

I would like to see Liverpool bring in Ince or even an Astori, but beyond that, I don't think the Reds need to go crazy in January. There will be a time and a place to break the bank, and that's in August.


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